Mardi Gras, Pet Parade St. Louis Style 2015

Last Sunday was simply gorgeous in St. Louis and a perfect day for a parade. I marched in the Beggin’ Strips Pet Parade in the Soulard neighborhood with a bunch of cake lovers/hunters from the stl250 Cakeway to the West project. I met these lovely folks through Facebook after completing my cake sculpture for the project, “The Spirit of St. Louis” (details in my earlier blog). I got a costume from work and decided to Ren it for the parade, where the dogs are more often dressed up than the people.

Although this post is not directly steampunk related, the neighborhood in which the parade runs through was built during the Victorian era. You’ll see a hint of the era’s architecture in some of the photos. The area was founded largely by French and German settlers which make it an excellent location for Mardi Gras and any German heritage celebrations like Oktoberfest.

St. Louis celebrates the second largest Mardi Gras in the U.S. after New Orleans. Of the three parades held during the season, the pet parade is probably the most family friendly. For a $10 fee, you and your pet can walk in the pet parade and your pet is entered in the costume contest. Donations go to the Open Door Animal Sanctuary with $1 going to Petfinder Organization in St. Louis. Or you can simply watch for free. The Weiner Dog Derby is immediately afterwards, with dauchshund dogs competing for prices in an exciting short race to the finish. Relatively new, is a concert after the Derby. This year’s band was Blues Traveler who provided an excellent musical soundtrack to the street party. I hope you enjoy the pics, I got inspired to do a little vamping up (in the 2nd part of this post). The temperature got into the low 70’s, and I even got a little sunburnt. Fun was had by all two and four legged friends.

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The Barkus Pet Parade cake.

 

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Let them eat cake. Doing my best queen pose.

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Our banner carriers.

 

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One of our canine cake “walkers”.

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Even this pot bellied pig got in on the action.

 

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On the throne, appropriately dressed

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Someone had a little too much parade…

 

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Our cake “mascot”, made of balloons.

When I got home, I didn’t want to waste the use of the costume, so I went into Ren cosplay, Lady Woodbridge mode (from The Vampire’s Little Black Book series perhaps?).

First a close up of the eye make up of golds, greens and purple, then the haughty queen came out:

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But knowing, with a smirk and a seductive smile. Sometimes thoughtful, even sweet.

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Always watchful and peeking over her shoulder…

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Later at night, becoming more of a saucy wench than a lady. Strong and coy, she knows how to defeat her enemies..

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..yet regally seductive.

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Thank you for indulging in my Ren silliness that ended up with some great photos. I might put some in the Etsy store, speaking of which…

Please remember the sale in my Etsy store, 25% off with code LUVMASKS through Valentine’s Day.

Thank you for reading,

Victoria

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-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

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-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

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-Fine Art America-store coming soon

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Revamping the Vamp, Get to Know Will

When I was writing my first steampunk novel “Strax and the Widow”, I got distracted by whole different genre and character. I wondered what would it be like for a modern day vampire searching for “the one” in modern times. What do you do with eternity on your hands? Could you really fall in love with one person? And if that person were human, could you avoid killing them? Would you tire of an endless life?

I know that this theme is not exactly unique, but I wanted to write a series from the view point of the vampire. Climb into his mind and share his story. And thus my character Will and “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series was born.

I like the short story format for this series. Each one is written like episodic television; a new adventure or peek into Will’s past. The first in the series “The Long Moonlight” might start off a little mushy, but read it all the way through to discover what’s at the heart of Will.

I like Will. For a vampire, he’s still pretty human. He loves women, but like most men, even after being alive over 600 years, has yet to completely figure them out. He has tremendous powers and desires. He is tempted, and sometimes can’t control his undead yearnings. Will’s made some serious mistakes and like most of us, his past still haunts him. He’s sweet, dirty, passionate, smart, dangerous, sexy, and sometimes a jerk, but always complex and charming.

I’ve just released V.1o “The Vamp Hit List”. It will be available to download for FREE on Wednesday November 19th on amazon/kindle. Remember, you don’t have to have a kindle to get the ebooks. You can download the Kindle app to almost any electronic device.

The whole FIRST ebook series will be FREE FOR THE LAST TIME EVER on 11/30, 12/1, and 12/26. After that you’ll have to purchase them or the upcoming compilation of all the stories, “The First Ten Bites”. I hope to have it available in hard copies/paperbacks by late spring.

Will is going to go away for a bit for a revamp as I wrap up my second steampunk novel in “The Society Series”, “Revenge and Machinery”. Some of the titles will have new artwork and new formatting, so be sure to download on the FREE dates. More of Will’s new adventures will arrive later in 2015.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the series. Please feel free to share the free download dates and rate on amazon and goodreads. I’d love to see your comments.

As always, thank you for reading,

-Victoria

The Vampire’s Little Black Book series is always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

 

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts on Being Sick

This is a short one and not what I expected to blog for October. My car got broken into about a week ago, but they stole nothing, just busted a lock. I’ve been working like crazy. Hopefully the next blog will be filled with Halloween and costume happiness. Meanwhile, enjoy these random thoughts on being sick:

-I absolutely hate being sick. Period.

-I have now returned to my classic pre-summer vampire white skin.

-Of course we have two of the most wonderful Fall days in St. Louis. The Cardinals lost in the playoffs, but the Rams and Blues won this weekend. Yet I am stuck on the couch or in bed.

-Why does everything look so good on tv, yet I have no appetite?

-I wanted to at least severely reprimand the guy (an adult mind you) that picked his nose in the fitting room line. OK, I wanted to kill him, but I can’t afford to go to jail.

-The part I hate most about going to the doctor (besides cost, I don’t have health insurance), explaining my low body temp. Today at Urgent Care I checked in at a comfortable 97.7. Yep. I feel like dirt and have the temperature of a reptile that runs through it. But my neck is swollen like a chipmunk. I’ve had strep and the flu and not run a fever. OK, at least my blood pressure was awesome.

-This time it hit pretty fast. Went from a slight headache Friday afternoon, to not sleeping that night because I felt like I’d gargled with razor blades.

-Sleep is my friend at last. When I did finally fall asleep on Sat. morning I had to text in sick to work. Got some OTC meds and gatorade and went back to bed. Watched some tv and did a little work on my costume. Took another nap. More tv. Bed early. Slept ten hours. Text in sick again. Urgent Care and pharmacy about 3.5 hours. Home and another nap. As of 3:30pm today, I’ve slept almost twenty-four hours. Sad to see most of my waking hours were at the doc’s office or getting meds.

-Surreal sick moment of the day, got my windows open and wake up from nap to people yelling and stuff. Turn on the tv to see that the Rams won. Lookout to notice the happy traffic of fans and the leaves changing color on the Arch grounds. Another beautiful day wasted. Cursed flu, but at least it’s a pretty day.

-The Countess is having tea and a bit of a lie down as they say in the UK. Stupid f’n virus, as we say in the US.

OK, will stop groaning now. What’s coming up?

Will the vampire returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers”. Since I really don’t feel like doing anything else, I will be writing a bit later on. Keep a watch on my social media links for its release.

Stay healthy my friends, and thanks, as always, for reading,

Victoria

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Will returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers” on amazon/kindle. The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc and volumes 1-7 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Product Details

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-stores coming soon

Getting Wiggy With It and Changes

I have eight wigs, none of which of are real human hair. Now that I’m working for a costume/Halloween store full time, I have access to even more strands of colorful delight.

Last month I decided I was done with the rat race, the nine to five.  I quit a new day job I’d only had for six weeks. Although the pay was good and it was in my field,  some things I was promised at the onset didn’t evolve. I had just been through seven years of that madness in my previous employment. I’d decided I wasn’t going to go through another seven years of not being happy and broken promises.  So I quit and went full time to a fun job that will also allow me to write and create more. I was ready to make a leap of faith, ready to change.

It’s put another delay in finishing “Strax and the Widow”, but I am much happier and less stressed.

I find inspiration everywhere in the shop, in all the fun costumes and accessories.  I love the endless styles of wigs.  They too help me to change. I’m happy to share a bit of the selection here. Enjoy, I’ll keep you posted on the nifty things coming soon. And note I have reduced prices for a pre-Halloween sale in my Etsy store, so please take a gander.

CCB2BMy newest and second favorite wig, in Mardi Gras colors. A little steampunked Joker cosplay.

 

GM 9GM 4My oldest wig, over 15 years old, first worn at Cardinals games. Used most recently for a mask photo shoot.

 

 

A bit pensive.Wig test and a smile.I have to say this is now my favorite wig. I love the antique blue look and the ringlets.

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 My real hair, although heavily lightened in these two pics.

Cover of Everyone Looks Better Undead.

Cover of Everyone Looks Better Undead.

 

And then some style. Day of the Dead IndeedAnd some roses.A black wig under the veil and under the hat below.

Fire Feather Hat 1

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Doing my best Foxxy Cleopatra at the premiere of Austin Powers “Goldmember” in a fine afro.

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An Amy Winehouse bouffant black wig.

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The second use of the red bob wig. I jumped out of that coffin for three hours.

I hope you enjoyed this retrospective of my wigs. Thank you for reading,

Victoria

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The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc is available on amazon/kindle.

Product Details

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-“Strax and the Widow” will debut this summer on Amazon/Kindle.

Image

 

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-stores coming soon

An Unexpected Start of Summer and Let Them Eat Cake Pt. 2

I can’t say my start to summer was completely unexpected, but some good and bad things happened right off the bat. Let’s get the bad out of the way first. I lost my full time job. For those that know me personally, this has been torture. It had been unreliable for a long, long time; years really. I have been buried in paperwork for insurance, job hunting, unemployment, etc. I think after almost a month of this I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, I have a roof overhead, food to eat and a lot of support.

On the good side, once this paperwork is through, I have a clean slate and I can work on my creative projects. “Strax and the Widow” is going through my beta readers now. It’s my first full fledged novel. I am so excited to finally release it soon. I am looking forward to a summer of working on its sequels and creative projects.

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I’ll be posting updates frequently on my Facebook page, The Countess Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Schultz.

I made what hopes to be my annual trip to the Gypsy Caravan on Memorial Day, an annual flea market that supports the St. Louis Symphony. I found $10 on the ground right after a friend and I passed through the entry gate, which covered my entry fee. Made some neat cheap but gorgeous finds that will most likely appear on some of my upcoming millinery pieces. Please watch my Etsy store for new stuff arriving soon. Which means some old stuff will need to go, so some sales coming!

One project that’s completed and on display is my STL250 Cakeway to the West sculpture, “The Spirit of St. Louis”. It is at Soldier’s Memorial downtown. Their link is stlsoldiersmemorial.org. I was honored to attend the Memorial Day services with many veterans from the local American Legion Posts. Please visit! The museum is FREE, but they take donations. There are pictures below. This is how summer SHOULD be started.

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Thank you for reading,

-Victoria

The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc is now available on amazon/kindle.

Product Details

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-”Strax and the Widow” will debut this summer on Amazon/Kindle.

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP -On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz) -Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr, CafePress and Fine Art America-coming soon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masks I Have Worn Pt. 3

Welcome to Pt. 3 of this blog. My Mardi Gras inspired mask wasn’t ready for the big Fat Tuesday parade, but it did turn out quite nicely. The process started simply enough; I had a base mask, I added more feathers and started adding embellishments. About halfway through, I realized I needed to add more silver to balance out some of the embroidery. So I added some silver paint to the “a bit to yellow for me feathers” and some silver gears.  I was pleased with results. I sealed all the gears and paint with two coats of Polymer Medium Gloss. Those sweet pieces won’t come off unless you break them off. I finished the back side with some simple gold duct tape to protect the back side of the feathers and wiring for the lights. From the drawing board, lights on, and mask alone shoot:

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I was then ready for the real shoot. First, the standard makeup, wig and lighting tests. I did want to wear a really unusual color wig wise to make the mask stand out after testing my makeup “glam shot” style first.

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Tested the weight of the mask and then some silliness ensued:

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Then for the serious shots for my Etsy store. A first few without the wig:

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Then add the sharp contrast wit the wig:

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I really enjoyed working with this series, I hope you enjoy the photos. The next mask for Pt. 4 was previewed a bit ago and took me in a whole different direction. I’m wrapping up the final touches on it and it’s story now. Bookmark this blog for the update. 🙂

A few quick notes on some great upcoming works:

1. The whole “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series on amazon/kindle will be FREE to download this weekend, March 22-23, 2014. New adventures of Will the vampire are forthcoming, but enjoy catching up on my favorite vamp’s past. Please share with your friends. My amazon link (please copy and paste into your browser):

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-L.-Szulc/e/B00CDFDIBI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1395190463&sr=8-1

2. CORRECTION: In my “Let Them Eat Cake” blog I noted that my “Spirit of St. Louis” sculpture was going to be at Creve Coeur Lake. I was given the wrong location information unfortunately. My piece will be placed at Soldier’s Memorial in downtown St. Louis instead. I have to say, despite the error, I am actually more satisfied with this location. It’s only ten blocks from my apartment and the Memorial should make for a perfect backdrop for the photo session I have in mind.

3. Coming soon to my Fine Art America and CafePress shops, the best of my steam works on cosplay cards, tees, etc.

Thank you for your support and reading!

-Victoria

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The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc is now available on amazon/kindle.

Product Details

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP -On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz) -Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tuumblr, CafePress and Fine Art America-coming soon